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Article: Twins 6, Orioles 4: Twins Use Big Inning To Top Orioles

brandon kintzler eduardo escobar byron buxton jorge polanco jose berrios
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:03 PM

After winning two out of three at home against the Angels, the Twins welcomed the Baltimore Orioles to Target Field on Thursday night. The Twins were able to win the first of this four-game series, the final series before the All-Star break. Jose Berrios picked up another win and Brandon Kintzler recorded his 23rd save of the season.The Twins used a six-run inning and held on the final five innings. Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, FanGraphs data showed that the Twins had a 33% chance to win the game. It’s funny how quickly things can change. When Jason Castro flew out to end a six-run inning, the Twins had an 87.5% chance to win.

Bases-loaded singles by Miguel Sano and Max Kepler got the Twins a 3-2 lead. Then Eduardo Escobar hit a deep fly off of the wall in right centerf ield. The ball caromed awkwardly back toward right field and Escobar had a two-run triple. Jorge Polanco’s fielder’s choice drove in the sixth run.



Jose Berrios was given a big, four-run lead for the second straight start. It wasn’t pretty. Berrios clearly was fighting his command of both his fastball and his curveball. However, he improved to 8-2 with a 3.53 ERA on the season. He gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Despite the lack of command, he didn’t walk any batters and struck out four.

The bullpen came through with three scoreless innings in relief.

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The Velocity of Kintzler

I get it. He doesn’t strike out as many as we would like to see. That’s fine. It’s really amazing to me that he doesn’t. But, we’ve also noticed that it’s rare that an opponent makes hard contact against him.

On Thursday night, his average fastball velocity was 95.5. He topped out at 96.6 and hit 96 often. He’s continued to progress and improve since joining the Twins last year.
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Web Gem for Jorge Polanco

There is no question that Jorge Polanco has struggled on defense the last couple of weeks, maybe a little longer. He’s had more errors, and there have been a few plays that weren’t errors but should have been made. Like all hitters go through slumps, infielders can on defense as well, and Polanco has of late.

And then he’ll make a play like he did on Thursday night and you can’t help but be truly excited. Polanco went deep into the hole turned and threw a one-hopper to Miguel Sano who stretched to get the out.




Buxton's Bounce Back

Heading into the Twins game on the 4th of July, Byron Buxton was slumping and had seen his batting average drop down to .195. In his last three games, he has gone 3-4, 2-4, and 2-4, and is now back up to .214.

In his postgame interview, Buxton said being aggressive has helped him. He just wants to get on base.




AL Central

Cleveland was finally able to figure out how to beat the Padres on Thursday night. The Tigers also won. The Royals and White Sox had the day off.

Cleveland 45-39 .536 ---
Kansas City 44-40 .524 1.0
TWINS 44-41 .518 1.5
Detroit 38-46 .452 7.0
Chicago 37-47 .440 8.0


Bullpen Usage

Brandon Kintzler has pitched in three of the past four Twins games. However, the rest of the bullpen is pretty well rested going into the final three games before the All-Star break.
Download attachment: pen76.png
What’s Next?

It isn’t going to get any easier for the Twins. On Friday at 7:10, it will be Felix Jorge (1-0, 5.40 ERA) facing right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.61 ERA).

I’m not afraid to admit it. In May and June of 2012, when asked who I thought the Twins should take with the #2 overall pick in the draft, my choice was consistent, Kevin Gausman. The hard-throwing junior right-hander from Louisiana State University. Trust me. I wasn’t disappointed when the Twins selected Byron Buxton, and I’m still not. While Gausman throws hard, he hasn’t been able to hit his stride in the big leagues with the Orioles, yet. There are times he can look the part of an ace, but overall, he’s not there yet. However, in his last two starts, he has been very good. He threw 5.1 shutout innings against the Blue Jays on June 27. Then on July 2nd, he threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts.

With Hector Santiago going on the disabled list, the Twins will give Felix Jorge another start. He put together a solid major league debut last Saturday. In five innings, he gave up three runs and was credited with the Win. Two runs came in the first inning on an Eric Hosmer opposite field home run. He settled in. The third run came after he left the game. A leadoff single in the 6tsixth ended his night, and soon after, a two-run home run scored that run.

Jorge was impressive. His fastball sat between 90 and 95, sitting mostly at 92 and 93. He showed a good changeup and a good curveball, though both were overthrown a bit at times. His reputation as being cool and calm showed as he showed little emotion on the mound. He was sent back to Chattanooga after the game. Since he was the 26th man, he was able to come up before 10 days.


Following the game, Felix Jorge was called up with Alan Busenitz getting optioned back to Rochester.

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#2 Han Joelo

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:33 PM

Thanks for pointing out the Polanco play. Impressive. Most impressive.

Disappointed to see Busenitz sent down, instead of...
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#3 Dantes929

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:57 PM

Nice win. Anyone see Sano drop a ball and recall again that Mauer hasn't had an error all season.  He's prevented plenty of them as well. My high school coach always preached that when you make errors you always try to follow with a good play.  Exactly what Sano did in the bottom of the inning with a big bases loaded single that got the rally started.  Nice job bull pen.

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#4 Danchat

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:36 PM

Wow, that was quite the play by Polanco. That was Andrelton Simmons-esque.

 

I'm very disappointed to see Busenitz go back to AAA. It should have been Pressly - he needs more time at AAA and Busenitz needs more MLB experience, but hopefully the two will switch spots before too long.

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#5 HitInAPinch

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:32 AM

This team seems like a bunch of fighters.  Yeah, there are some real cluster flops, but plenty of good, too.

 

Very happy to read that Felix Jorge is getting another start.  I just don't have much confidence in Santiago.

 

On Buxton's recent surge at the plate:  I highly recommend reading Brandon's article "Twins Hitting Coach James Rowson Clarifies Hitting Plan for Byron Buxton".

 

One more edit [ #3 ]:  really need to see some more of those MiLB RP arms.  can't keep wearing out Duffy, Taylor and Kintzler.

 

 

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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:49 AM

Nice for Jorge, but it would have been nice to use this option to try out another of our minor league starters.  Lets see Gonsalves, for example, on the major league stage.

 


#7 DocBauer

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:07 AM

Really nice to see Jorge get another start. He could take the experience from the first start and look as good or better. He could also battle nerves and inexperience, as well as the Orioles, and not pitch as well. I really don't have expectations, just hope. But he could very well be part of the future and it is so refreshing to see him get this opportunity instead of a street FA.
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#8 Vanimal46

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:27 AM

 

I'm very disappointed to see Busenitz go back to AAA. It should have been Pressly - he needs more time at AAA and Busenitz needs more MLB experience, but hopefully the two will switch spots before too long.

 

As am I. Don't understand why Pressly remained on the MLB roster when he's not being used. When he did get in a game, he gave up 3 runs in 2 innings. 

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#9 TwinsCD

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:34 AM

I like Jorge getting another look after a pretty decent first outing.  Now isn't the time yet to be auditioning guys that we HOPE can compete at this level.  Jorge showed he could in his first go-around.  Turley was a disaster from the start and we let him hang around for a couple more bad starts.  

 

As for the game last nite, the Twins show that when the bats are on, they just crush it.  And when the Orioles get a little loose, the wheels just come off.  Good holds by Kintzler and Rogers.  Still covering my eyes when Duffey comes into the game.


#10 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:36 AM

It's odd that I don't recall ever seeing Byron Buxton interviewed before. He's super poised in this one. Not fidgety like a lot of athletes are.

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#11 Pardon My Dinger

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:38 AM

My favorite part of the Polanco play was the way he followed through and got into position to back up 3B and save Sano's would-be throwing error. 

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#12 JLease

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:41 AM

Looks like the wrong graph posted; bullpen useage is not showing, it's a repeat of the leverage index.

 

Berrios wasn't sharp but fought through it. Duffey didn't get a couple of calls he wanted and it made for a tough inning...but he hacked through it. Those are good learning experiences for young pitchers.

 

Buxton's approach at the plate right now, shortening his swing, leaving the leg kick at home, and making good hard contact with the ball is having really nice results. I'd like to see him stick to this for a solid month without tinkering and see where he stands at the end of July.


#13 Respy

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:03 AM

Kintzler has really been bringing that running fastball lately.  Some have said this year that the Target Field radar seems a tad juiced, but I'd say that Kintzler's fastball last night looked legit 95-96 and was badly tying up batters.  

 

Personally, I'd attribute his lack of strikeouts partly due to his heavy reliance on the fastball (81% this year, 88% last year) and partly due to his high delivery which is not particularly deceptive.  But, still induces weak contact due to good location and excellent movement.  I always like to compare Kintzler to Jim Johnson, other notable sinkerball closer.  His career K/9 is 6.84, while Kintzler's is 6.35.  Both are low, but Johnson's uses his similar 94 mph fastball 73% of the time in his career.

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#14 Doomtints

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:23 AM

Always skeptical of wins where all of the scoring is in one inning. This is usually a sign that the bats are about to go silent for a couple of games.

 

But a win is a win!


#15 jorgenswest

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:41 AM

Always skeptical of wins where all of the scoring is in one inning. This is usually a sign that the bats are about to go silent for a couple of games.
 
But a win is a win!


I had not heard this before. I would like to know more. Is there a study you can link? I would have been of the belief that day to day variation on performance would be a good amount of ramdom noise as well as a correlation to the skill of the current day starter.

#16 bluechipper

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:42 AM

Berrios has come a long way from last year. What he was able to do while not having his best stuff was pretty impressive. Hopefully the AS break can help him regroup and be ready for a strong 2nd half.

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#17 Doomtints

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:43 AM

 

I had not heard this before. I would like to know more. Is there a study you can link? I would have been of the belief that day to day variation on performance would be a good amount of ramdom noise as well as a correlation to the skill of the current day starter.

This is just my perception of the Twins hitting behavior in particular. It could be wrong, and it almost certainly does not apply to the MLB as a whole.


#18 bluechipper

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:47 AM

Jorge Polanco is having an interesting season. He's shown that he can at least be near average defensively at SS, but his bat has been the big disappointment. 

 

He got off to a decent offensive start, but has really struggled the past month or so. Has anyone noticed pitchers pitching him differently? 


#19 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:51 AM

 

...

 Still covering my eyes when Duffey comes into the game.

I don't understand that, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

 

You must sell your house and move whenever Belisle come in, hmm?.. :)

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#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:27 AM

I don't understand that, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

 

You must sell your house and move whenever Belisle come in, hmm?.. :)

I had a heart attack and died from each of Nik Turley's starts. Fortunately I got better.

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